‘Transport funding, planning needed,’ Korean study

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The overall transportation infrastructure of Addis is frail and requires a huge amount of budget while the private capital investment needs to be encouraged to support the government’s role, said a new study. 
The study conducted by Korea Expert Consulting Group (KECG) released a week ago indicated that the overall infrastructure is lacking and the budget is small. It calls for private capital to be raised to fund these projects. In addition the study recommends that Addis Ababa establishes a legal framework to develop a transportation system as soon as possible. One of the necessary conditions for achieving an efficient and sustainable transportation system is to establish a reasonable legal framework for the sector. Together with establishing a legal framework, setting up a transportation data base seems to be needed.
For the long run, Addis Ababa city should establish a research institute which can double as a think tank in the area of transportation and city planning.
“Giving the prevailing urban transport conditions and particularly the challenges facing the city, Addis Ababa needs to set up improvement strategies,” the study explained.
The study indicated that in order to accomplish this, the ultimate goal and principles of the improvement of transportation system need to be clearly addressed. The goal of the transportation system improvement is to ensure efficiency and safety through achieving a competitive transportation system to meet the economic and social mobility needs of the Addis metropolitan area.
“The city government should establish a long term comprehensive strategic plan, select an appropriate transportation system considering the size and characteristics of Addis Ababa including: population, land use, topography and others to seek the balance between land use pattern and transportation system through a transit oriented approach and prepare institutional and financial setting accordingly,” it revealed.
The study indicated that accommodating increasing travel demand by private car and small capacity public commercial vehicles (mid-size or mini buses) is physically impossible because the share of roads in built up area of Addis Ababa is very low and it will not be cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly.
“Therefore, it is recommended that the share of public transportation including bus, metro/light rail transit (LRT) be as high as 70 percent. The mode shares of metro/LRT and bus need to be 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively, considering the practice of Seoul Metropolitan Area,” the study recommended.
“It is because the population density of Addis will be very high and in general metro/LRT would be more appropriate than buses for the metropolitan area,” the study argues.
In addition the study indicated that to activate the use of buses in Addis Ababa, bus priority lanes and bus priority single control should be implemented wherever possible. Bus information and management systems need to be implemented as well in order to maximize the operational efficiency of the bus system and provide real time information to passengers. The current operational inefficiency and capacity underutilization of buses can be best addressed through these strategies, according to the study.
Alemayehu Gujo, state minister of Finance and Economic Development, told Capital that the government will use the study to develop the sector in relation with the actual situation of the country.
The team led by Alemayehu had paid a visit to Seoul in late 2011 to observe the experience of the South Korean capital. The Korean study group has also undertaken a study about the development of Ethiopian small scale enterprises.  
Anbessa City Bus Enterprise has 800 buses that can carry 100 passengers (including the recently purchased buses), operating in 98 regular routes moving 350,000 commuters daily. Privately owned 10,000 mini-bus shared taxis with 12 seats operating in 253 routes carrying 1.4 million passengers and 470 buses that can carry 47 passengers. All transport 1.7 million people daily. Walking is the dominant mode of transportation in the city accounting for 55 percent of all trips and private cars account for 5 percent of trips.
The total road length of the city is 3445 Km with 1758 Km asphalt road and 1687 Km gravel road, and the pedestrian walkway is 387 Km. The number of vehicles in Addis Ababa increased from 97,605 in 2006 to 202,123 vehicles in 2011, a rise by 27.72 percent.
Transport planning is crucial in the provision of equitable, efficient and effective transport service provision in an urban setting. However the transport system of Addis Ababa lacks consistent integrated planning with the city development plan, according to the study.